Research Park alums took over the Crain’s 20 In Their 20’s List. Three companies that spent time in the Research Park were Dan Klein with Tiesta Tea, Ashley Moy with Cast21, and Lucas Frye with Amber Agriculture all made the list for their outstanding development in innovation and technology. Klein and Moy were both graduates from the EnterpriseWorks incubator here at the University of Illinois Research Park and Frye spent a year in the Research Park Developing his company.
Tiesta Tea started its journey in the EnterpriseWorks incubator at the University of Illinois Research Park. Klein shared with Crain’s that the idea for his company came when he was in a teahouse in Prague and “couldn’t understand why the fruity, flavor-packed loose-leaf varietal he was sipping wasn’t widely available in the U.S.” From there his company hasn’t stopped growing and is expecting a revenue of around $8 million this year.
Cast21 was another company that began its journey in the EnterpriseWorks incubator. Moy’s company started as a senior design project. The idea for Cast21 was based off of the experiences of Moy’s cofounder, Jason Troutner. Troutner had spent a lot of time in uncomfortable and impractical casts due to injuries and he and Moy wanted to change that experience for those in the future. The team created a cast that was breathable, waterproof, and more accessible. The cast has a web-like design that can be moulded to the wearer’s hand and allows them to do more with the cast on, like take a shower easily. Moy plans on putting the cast through medical testing and hopes the cast will make it to market later this year.
Although Lucas Frye and Amber Agriculture only spent a year at the Research Park, they left their mark on Champaign-Urbana and took home the 2016 Cozad New Venture competition prize. Frye grew up in a very small farming town and used that to his advantage to create a device that measures moisture for grain, one of the most important elements in successfully achieving a good crop.
Read more about the companies in Crain’s article here.